Map-less combat system

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I've taken a stab at creating a combat system that doesn't require a map/table (primarily because while the VT was really cool and useful, creating maps in it was just crap on a stick).  You can find the writeup here.

Any feedback would be welcome.  

  T 
Yeah. I did just kill your BBEG with a vorpal frisbee. Problem?
To each his own.   My suggestion is that if you want to play a mapless system, do not use 4e, period.    There's too much fudging and vagaries otherwise.   One of the strengths of 4e is it's precision with maps; line of sight, area of effect, partial/total concealment, etc.

As you said, to each their own.  

Some folks find the well-defined powers a welcome change, and LOS / AOE issues can be handled at DM discretion just as easily (and probably moreso) than with a map.  

This isn't an edition flame, so please take it elsewhere if that's your intent.  I want to get feedback on how this works for people, not yours or anyone else's personal whining about whether or not 4e is good with or without a map.  

  T 
Yeah. I did just kill your BBEG with a vorpal frisbee. Problem?
I've never understood why the "precision" of 4e is considered a strength. Don't get me wrong, I like that everything is codified, but in actual play I find it only makes a difference about 10% of the time - and then only after someone has spent far too long looking at the table like it's a Scrabble board. For quick play, fudging is absolutely appropriate and gives the same overall result, except for that 10%. If you don't have a map, you just have to have enough trust around the table to carry you through those corner cases. I find erring on the side of the players at first helps build this trust. It shows that the DM isn't about just beating the players, so later when he or she rules on the monsters' side the players can trust that the DM isn't just showing favoritism.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

As you said, to each their own.  

Some folks find the well-defined powers a welcome change, and LOS / AOE issues can be handled at DM discretion just as easily (and probably moreso) than with a map.  

This isn't an edition flame, so please take it elsewhere if that's your intent.  I want to get feedback on how this works for people, not yours or anyone else's personal whining about whether or not 4e is good with or without a map.  


I have played all editions, including since before AD&D 1.0 even existed.   I am comfortable with non-map play, so don't take this as any kind of edition flame.

You said:

Any feedback would be welcome.  
 


Your words.

My feedback is that 4e simply does not work without a map.   If you enjoy mapless play, and there's nothing wrong with that, my advice is to play any other version of D&D besides 4e.   You have created many interesting rules, but IMO they are far too conflicting with 4e to be viable.
Since context clues are apparently lost, allow me to clarify for you:  feedback on the system I suggested, not on the edition of D&D.  Now unless you have some, I'd prefer you take your commentary about D&D systems and go to another thread - please don't make the mistake of thinking I care which or how many editions you have played unless that has something pertinent to bring to bear here.

  T
Yeah. I did just kill your BBEG with a vorpal frisbee. Problem?
What you have suggested here seems very viable as a generally stand-alone game using any RPG characters from any game. In essense, I think your rule set is edition-less.

I agree with SwampDog that I would not use this for a 4e game. Although your original post does not directly link your ruleset to 4e, SwampDog's linking it to 4e is understandable because you posted it on a 4e Board. So, to that end, his comment is valid.

So long as this request for feedback is on a 4e Board, it will legitimately receive 4e-specific feedback.
Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
You've made a valiant effort and I hope that if you employ it at your table it works for you. I'm of the philosophy that if I want to a play a particular game a way that's not necessarily intended, I'm just going to find a game that does what I want out-of-the-box rather than change core assumptions and methods of another game.

There are a lot of games that do Theater of the Mind combat really well. 4e isn't one of them without - at a bare minimum - a lot of trust around the table. Even then, it will require a fair amount of thought and work as your blog has demonstrated. I wouldn't try to run a horror game in 4e; I wouldn't try to run Theater of the Mind either. Sure, it can be done, but there are better systems for it which will produce better results.

For any decision or adjudication, ask yourself, "Is this going to be fun for everyone?" and "Is this going to lead to the creation of an exciting, memorable story?"

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